More hospitals are likely to be identified for failing to meet standards
Following my previous blogs on Professor Sir Bruce Keogh’s report, Jeremy Hunt has now said that it will take three to five years for the NHS Trusts identified to improve their failures. He has also admitted that further hospitals are likely to be named shortly as failing to provide adequate care.
Mr Hunt has said “turning around our failing hospitals is probably one of the biggest operational challenges that we face in the NHS today”. In order to improve failings at hospital, a new inspection regime is being put into place to ensure ongoing inspection of hospitals to ensure they all meet the required standards. This will be led by Professor Sir Mike Richards, an oncologist and the Chief Inspector of Hospitals. Professor Richards will be carrying out announced and unannounced inspections at 18 NHS Trusts before Christmas this year. An overview of the NHS Trusts which will be inspected and details regarding the investigations can be found here. The hospitals which fail the inspections will face the same kind of improvement program that the 11 NHS Trusts investigated in the Keogh report are undergoing now.
These new inspection measures include total transparency, and where progress is made on problems identified it will be published on the NHS Choices website and independent hospital inspections.
The most interesting measure I found, however, was a new “buddy” system which will be set up. This will team up a successful hospital with one which is struggling to meet the required standards so that knowledge and expertise can be shared. University Hospitals Birmingham is already supporting two struggling hospitals: George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton and Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Dame Julie Moore, chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham, does not believe that taking the time to help other hospitals improve will affect their own performance, stating “some of the systems we have sweated on over the years, it seems, are relatively simple to pass on to somebody else”. Whilst a shortage of doctors and nurses is not an issue at University Hospital Birmingham, it is hoped that as the other hospitals improve, they will attract high-quality staff and that this problem will be eradicated.
Successful hospitals, such as University Hospital Birmingham, which team up with failing NHS Trusts will be paid their expenses for doing so and may also get payments if good improvements are made and th e hospitals come out of special measures.
It is encouraging to hear that measures are being put into place to ensure patient safety. However, it is likely that we will soon be hearing of other hospitals which are failing to meet the standards required and putting their patients at risk. Patients attending hospital are owed a duty of care to receive a reasonable standard of medical treatment. Anyone who has suffered from injuries as a result of a failure by a Trust to provide this should contact a medical negligence lawyer for advice.
If you have concerns about the treatment which you have received at a hospital in England or Wales, I would be happy to advise you on making a claim for compensation for medical negligence. Please contact me on 0207 288 4849 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the matter with no obligation and free of charge.